Wolves host Heart River in football season opener
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City will open its 2014 season on Friday, Aug. 29, when the Wolves host the Heart River Cougars at 7 p.m. at Fridley Field. And Justin Johnsrud, new Wolves’ head coach, is looking forward to another good year of football for Watford City.
While Watford City lost Brandon Allex, who led the team in rushing last season, Johnsrud believes he has a solid nucleus of players returning that should ensure the Wolves making the playoffs again this season.
“We are really looking forward to this season,” states Johnsrud. “We have eight starters returning on both sides of the ball from last season’s playoff team. The players have been working hard this preseason and are very motivated to improve everyday.”
Leading the Wolves on the line will be Beau Heiser, Logan Fettig, and Jaryn Homiston. Heiser, a 6’2”, 210-pound senior, was named to last year’s All Conference Team and was a Second Team All State at linebacker, while Fettig, a 6’3”, 210-pound senior, was an All Conference Defensive End.
Taking on the quarterback position for Johnsrud will be Keegan Thompson, a 5’10”, 180-pound senior. Last season, Thompson, who shared quarterbacking with Bo Cook, carried the ball 71 times for 285 yards for the Wolves.
“Thompson has a good grasp of the offense,” states Johnsrud. “But he has to exert himself as the leader of the offensive unit at the quarterback spot.”
According to Johnsrud, he will be looking at Brandon Sandvik, a 5’8”, 135-pound junior, Daniel Marmon, a 5’8”, 180-pound senior, and Dalton Wright, a 6’, 170-pound senior, to share the load in the running back field.
Marmon, who was an All Conference Honorable Mention as a defensive back last season, had 47 carries for 229 rushing yards last season, while Wright, an All Conference linebacker, had 270 rushing yards.
“We need to throw the ball better this year in order to compete in the AA playoffs,” states Johnsrud. “We have been working on that and have some quality receivers in Brennan Leaming, Derrike Hayden, David Kline, Jonathan Dunn, and Bo Cook, who will also see some time at quarterback.”
Other starters returning from last year’s squad include Bo Cook, a 5’9”, 155-pound senior, who had 229 yards rushing and 334 yards passing last season; Brenden Leaming, a 5’11”, 155-pound senior wide receiver and defensive back; Clay Jorgenson, a 5’9”, 150-pound senior defensive back; Jonathan Dunn, a 6’1, 205-pound tight end/defensive lineman; Aaron Bigelow, a 5’8, 155-pound junior running back/linebacker; and Derrike Hayden, a 6’2, 170-pound tight end/defensive back.
“Many of the teams in the West Region AA also return numerous starters this season,” states Johnsrud. “Bismarck St. Mary’s, the 2013 AA Champions, will again be one of the top teams in the state, while the rest of the teams in the region should also be better this year.”
While Johnsrud, expects the season to be very competitive, he says the team is focused on getting better each game.
“We are excited to get started,” states Johnsrud. “We plan to focus on one game at a time and are committed to getting better in practice so we can be playing our best football at the end of the season.”